Did you ever ask whether music makes people smart, why a Parkinson patient's gait is improved with marching tunes, and whether Robert Schumann was suffering from schizophrenia or Alzheimer's disease? This broad but comprehensive book deals with history and new discoveries about music and the brain. It provides a multi-disciplinary overview on music processing, its effects on brain plasticity, and the healing power of music in neurological and psychiatric disorders. In this context, the disorders the plagued famous musicians and how they affected both performance and composition are critically discussed, and music as medicine, as well as music as a potential health hazard are examined. Among the other topics covered are: how music fit into early conceptions of localization of function in the brain, the cultural roots of music in evolution, and the important roles played by music in societies and educational systems.
- Topic: Music is interesting to almost everybody
- Orientation: This book looks at music and the brain both historically and in the light of the latest research findings
- Comprehensiveness: This is the largest and most comprehensive volume on 'music and neurology' ever written!
- Quality of authors: This volume is written by a unique group of real world experts representing a variety of fields, ranging from history of science and medicine to neurology and musicology
Music evolution and neuroscience
Charles T. Snowdon*,1; Elke Zimmermann┼; Eckart Altenmüller╬ * Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA
┼ Institute of Zoology, Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Germany
╬ Institute of Music Physiology and Musicians' Medicine (IMMM), University of Music, Drama and Media, Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany
1 Corresponding author: Tel.: 1.608.262.3974; Fax: +1.608.262.4029 email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
There have been many attempts to discuss the evolutionary origins of music. We review theories of music origins and take the perspective that music is originally derived from emotional signals. We show that music has adaptive value through emotional contagion, social cohesion, and improved well-being. We trace the roots of music through the emotional signals of other species suggesting that the emotional aspects of music have a long evolutionary history. We show how music and speech are closely interlinked with the musical aspects of speech conveying emotional information. We describe acoustic structures that communicate emotion in music and present evidence that these emotional features are widespread among humans and also function to induce emotions in animals. Similar acoustic structures are present in the emotional signals of nonhuman animals. We conclude with a discussion of music designed specifically to induce emotional states in animals.
emotions in music
evolution of music
music and speech interactions
What are the origins of music? Is music unique to humans or does it have an evolutionary history? Does music have an adaptive function and, if so, would this function have been of use to other species? What is the relationship between music and language? Can music be related to emotional signaling in nonhuman animals? Are there emotional universals in music and in animal signals? If music can induce emotional states in listeners, can animal signals do the same? This chapter attempts to provide some answers to these questions. We take the perspective that music was derived from the emotional signals of other species and had as its initial primary function to induce emotional states in listeners. We will briefly review various theories of music origins and then provide data suggesting that music is adaptive in promoting social cohesion and has beneficial physiological effects in humans and other species. We then provide evidence that the emotional content of language is mediated by music-like structures involved both in vowel harmonics and in prosody. Prosody in human speech also influences the behavior of preverbal infants, as well as the behavior of other species, suggesting an evolutionary continuum. Next, we will consider the possibility of universals in the ways music induces emotions across cultures and look for similar universals in animal emotional signals. We will provide evidence on some experimental tests of playing music to animals and conclude with some suggestions for future directions.
2 Theories of Music Origins
There is a variety of ideas about the evolution of music that focus on whether music is adaptive or not, ranging from the "music as cheesecake" hypothesis of Pinker (1997) that music is nice but has no adaptive function to the idea that music is sexually selected and is important in mate choice (Charlton, 2014; Darwin, 1871; Kleinman, in the first volume; Miller, 2000), to the Mixed Origins of Music hypothesis (Altenmüller et al., 2013) which maintains that the early roots of music may lie in an ancient affective signaling system that is common to many socially living mammals. However, later on music also induced aesthetic emotions and facilitated a safe practice environment for auditory learning, promotion of social cohesion, and for psychological and physiological well-being.
The origins of music have been hypothesized to be uniquely human following after the evolution of language, since music requires many of the cognitive skills associated with language (Patel, 2008) or has evolved simultaneously with language (the music language hypothesis; Brown, 2000). As an alternative to music being unique to humans, Juslin and Västfjäll (2008) and Levitin (2008) have proposed that music has evolved from emotional communication and that the musical components of speech provide honest communication about emotions. This is the view that we will support in this chapter. We agree with Altenmüller et al. (2013) that there is more to music than simply affective or emotional communication, but from a phylogenetic perspective we can focus only on observable behaviors.
In studying the evolution of a phenomenon, there are two separate questions that need to be answered. The first question has to do with adaptation or function. Can we discern obvious benefits to music that cannot be found with other types of auditory inputs such as speech or other sounds? If there is no clear adaptive function that can be detected then what we study might simply be an artifact of another evolved function. Thus, music might simply have been an incidental component to the evolution of a complex auditory system that is needed to process speech sounds. The second question has to do with time course or phylogeny. A trait might be adaptive solely for modern humans and could have evolved after branching off, or a trait may have appeared even in nonhuman mammals and may thus be ancestral and shared by other species as well.
There are two models of phylogeny-divergent and convergent evolution. Most people are familiar with divergent evolution: that traits studied in one species might be shared with a common ancestor. Thus, for humans, apes and monkeys are our closest relatives and traits shared among several species suggest a common ancestor dating back to when the lines diverged. Less well known is the concept of converging evolution: that species with similar problems to solve may have developed similar adaptations regardless of phylogenetic closeness. Thus, many have argued that songbirds are good models for human speech and music, since vocal signals appear to play a much more important role for humans and songbirds than for our closest relatives. We need to evaluate both adaptation and phylogeny to understand the origins of music.
3 Music Is Adaptive
We first need to demonstrate how music can be adaptive. One of the best known putative adaptive advantages has been music as a sexually selected trait that allows males to compete for females. This idea was initially suggested by Darwin (1871) and subsequently advocated by Miller (2000). Haselton and Miller (2006) found increased attractiveness of men expressing creative intelligence as short-term sexual partners at the time of ovulation in women. Charlton (2014) has reported that periovulatory women show significant short-term mating preferences for men who are attributed as composers of complex music. The "complex" music used by Charlton (2014) is still relatively simple compared with most composed music, which may make these short-term mate preferences even stronger with most music.
As articulated by Owren and Rendall (2001) for animal signals, emotional signals can induce emotional states in others that can lead to social cohesion with shared emotions and increased cooperation within a group. Mithen (2005) has suggested this social cohesion function of music for our prehistoric ancestors. Emotional signals can also influence cognition and have effects on the physiology and neuroendocrine systems of listeners.
One contemporary study provides evidence for the social cohesion function of music. Kirschner and Tomasello (2010) studied two groups of 4-year-old children. In one condition, pairs of children marched around an artificial pond containing toy frogs, while singing a song to musical accompaniment and picking up the frogs in time to the song to wake them up. In the other group, pairs of children engaged in the same actions but without singing. The children were then tested on a task that involved cooperation with the other child and on a task where one child could choose to help the other child. In the joint singing condition, children were significantly more likely to cooperate with and to help one another than in the condition without music.
Several cognitive and physiological effects of music have been demonstrated in human and in nonhuman animals. When neuroanatomical terms are presented in the form of a song, college students learned the terms more rapidly and retained more of the terms when tested up to 10 days later (Panksepp and Bernatzky, 2002). Adding speech to music (as in a song) may lead to greater memory. Weiss et al. (2012) measured recognition memory for old versus new melodies using piano, banjo, marimba, and voice, with greater recognition occurring for sung melodies. Emotional mood induction by music (happy or sad) can influence whether happy or sad memories can be recalled (Parrott and Sabini, 1990).
Music has also been used in therapeutic situations with reports suggesting music reduces anxiety and improves mood for medical and surgical patients...